Sunday, July 17, 2005

it's a small world

"The world is getting smaller in an awful hurry, so get out there."

Five years ago, I took those words to heart, left an east coast Canadian university before my convocation (much to the chagrin of my parents), and flew half a world away to Australia. I arrived in Perth early on a Wednesday morning with nothing more than a backpack and a nervous excitement about not knowing what to do next. It was just as well, since nothing could have prepared me for the months of people and places wonderful, strange, friendly, beautiful, kind, disappointing, fascinating, normal, unique. And luckily for me, I've had the opportunity to encounter a similar latitude of experience on subsequent trips to different corners of the world. From now on, I'll be posting here on felix's daily starfish and waffles various stories and photos from my travels ... hopefully some of which you'll find thought-provoking if nothing else. Enjoy ... and make sure you get out there and see the world from time to time.

Pinnacles Desert, Nambung National Park, Western Australia. (2000). The fact that this photo turned out as well as it did coming from my el-cheapo Kodak F300 APS camera is testament to the incredible color of sky and sand that particular June day. I've never seen clouds like that since.

Southwest of Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road hugs the windswept, Victorian coastline of the Southern Ocean to form one of the world's truly spectacular drives. Still, I hadn't even planned on going. That is, until I gave in to my cousin's urging and joined a guided tour. I think it was Gray Line. The tour bus left on a misty and occassionally rainy morning - exactly the type of day I gather most Australians envision of Melbourne at the height of winter. In spite of the best efforts of our cheery bus driver, the bus kept breaking down. This meant it was going to be impossible to hit all of the highlights along the Great Ocean Road before dark, to the disappointment of many. Luckily, I still managed to get my shot of the Twelve Apostles - a set of splendid, coastal limestone rock formations that constitutes one of the country's most renowned landmarks. "What a beautiful place," I thought to myself, "one day I'll be back." Little did I know that five years later, the incessant pounding of the Southern Ocean waves would reduce one of the "Apostles" to a pile of rubble. Moral of the story: sometimes things change and won't be the same the next time you're back.

The Twelve Apostles, Port Campbell National Park, Victoria. (2000). The rock formation furthest on the left of the picture above collapsed into the ocean on July 3, 2005.